JAN 2011 – VNAF SPECIAL – from 1954 until 1975 the Republic of South Vietnam existed as a state in South East Asia. The Air Force was known as Republic of Vietnam Air Force or VNAF.
The VNAF over time became one of the biggest Air Forces in the world as it was supported extensively by the USAF.
It went from propeller to jet aviation within 12years and expanded at fast and uncontrollable rates in the early 1970s.
Sadly due to the North Vietnamese invasion of early 1975, the South Vietnamese people had to surrender in April 1975.
Many VNAF aircrew died in the Vietnam war defending their country.Here is a insight to some of their aircrew and gear.
Here we see a group of the last ever A-1 Skyraider pilots state side in USA at Hulbert Field undergoing conversion to the A-1H Skyraider. This was in 1972 or 1973. They all wear CWU-27?p early version of the Nomex CS FRS-1 flight suit. They wear garrison/overseas caps , variety of patches and flight boots.
How many of these young pilots died defending South Vietnam flying the A-1H up to April 1975 is a question that makes the photo rather sad to see…
2 USAF and 2 VNAF pilots from a F-5 Tiger squadron? ..pose before a mission. They all wear K-2B flight suits except for the 2nd USAF pilot on right who wears a Nomex flight suit, SRU-21/P survival vests, flight boots, backpack parachute harness, HGU-2A/P flight helmet and MBU-5/P oxygen masks. Nomex flight gloves indicates Nomex was available at this time but the suits were not yet issued to all aircrews.
A class of young students from a gunship squadron – AC-119G Stinger flight crew – pose with their USAF instructors in 1971 at Phan Rang air base.
Students all wear K-2B flight suits while instructors wear early generation Nomex Summer flight suit – CS / FRP-1.
The early generation nomex was made from olive drab fire resistant polymide.
The K-2B were made with cotton which burned easier in a fire than polymide/nomex..
A group of VNAF F-5E Tiger pilots pose with their F-5 Tiger USAF instructor in a revetment.
Note the variety of flight suit colours – all wear either black/camoflauge style or olive drab K-2B flight suit, SRU-21/P survival vests,backpack parachute harness, CSU-3/P g suit, HGU-2A/P flight helmet and MBU-5/P oxygen masks and flight boots.